Friday, October 15, 2010

UNO Defeats Minnesota 5-4 in Inaugural WCHA Game

The UNO Mavericks hockey squad won their first WCHA game 5-4 tonight in Minneapolis, defeating Minnesota at Mariucci Arena. Heck of a way to get started by winning in one of the most difficult barns in college hockey. Not that this place was unfamiliar to some of the Mavs; head coach Dean Blais won here as head coach of North Dakota, while assistants Mike Guentzel and Mike Hastings are former Gopher assistants. Several players are from Minnesota, and playing hockey at Mariucci is somewhat akin to a Nebraska native finally getting to play in Memorial Stadium.

The Mavs stunned the crowd by taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. Rich Purslow, Alex Hudson, and Matt White scored the goals. The lead widened to 4-0 on a Matt Ambrosz goal before Michael Young got hit with another five minute major penalty, his second of the season, late in the second period. The Gophers scored twice (once on a 5-on-3 power play) in the closing minutes of the second.  Minnesota tied the game with a goal by captain Jay Barriball with just over three minutes left in the third period.  Alex Hudson then buried the game winner with 1:36 remaining in the game.  Things got chippy at the end, with Barriball starting a scrum after the game was over.

Great start for the Mavs, though losing a four goal lead is concerning. Tomorrow night's game could be tough; the Gophers should be a wee bit on edge after losing at home. Nevertheless, opening conference play with a win on the road at one of the league powers is a heck of a way to get started.

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